It’s now more than just a Formula One war of words at Mercedes
19:37 29 August 2014
Clearly this column will need to be taken in the context of sport – there are more serious problems across the world than a Formula One team having to manage a couple of multi-million pound egos.
Good week, bad week
• Pole position – Sochi: Sebastian Vettel has given the full circuit its first lap from an F1 driver – and the German is already looking forward to the Russian Grand Prix’s arrival in October.
• Stalling – Andre Lotterer: The German’s F1 debut with Caterham has come and gone – and that may well be that. Not much fun, given his race was almost over before it had begun.
Still, the point remains – and the word has been used widely since a scintillating Belgian Grand Prix: It’s war at Mercedes.
When the season started and over the opening rounds, I was always convinced Lewis Hamilton and Nico Rosberg were almost playing at being enemies.
Sure, they couldn’t be the best of friends while they were battling for the world championship – but still, would they really harbour the sort of anger that leads to a complete breakdown in relationship?
After all, they’d been karting against each other forever.
"(He) said he did it on purpose, he said he could have avoided it and did it to prove a point"
Even the earlier spats seemed to be followed by reconciliation – or at least public attempts at it.
But not now. Not after that second-lap coming together at Spa-Francorchamps.
Yet it’s not really the actual contact that has done the real damage. The replays have been regular and the analysis everywhere – yet, the incident still looks almost innocuous. Rosberg was clearly a little naughty as he left his front wing hanging around Hamilton’s rear-left – but there isn’t much around to suggest unbridled malice. Well, not on the track anyway. But the malice of the resulting situation has certainly been evident since; be it Lewis’ accusations or the team’s attempts at dealing with the fallout.
There have been some almighty team-mate battles throughout Formula One’s past – and now it seems we really are set for something special at Mercedes for the remaining seven races of 2014.
And the fact is, when the racing resumes at Monza on the first weekend of September, anything could happen between them.
This is war now, and all sense can go straight out of the cockpit.
• It was worrying news – the fact that now Bernie Ecclestone has sorted out all those little distractions he had going on away from F1 for several months, he is now free to focus all his efforts back on to his motorsport baby and cure all its perceived ills.
Formula One has a problem – it’s that everyone thinks it has a problem.
Yet the truth is, this season has been brilliant. The racing has been superb. The field has had a shake-up. Plus we’re in the midst of what may well prove over time to be one of the classic inter-team title battles.
Please Bernie, don’t go fiddling to prove some sort of point.